Amid the humanitarian crisis along the border, it’s wheels down for Vice President Mike Pence in the Rio Grande Valley on Friday. He’s expected to meet with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in McAllen. Some members of CPB have been blamed for allowing unsanitary conditions and dangerous living conditions for migrants seeking asylum.
The purpose of his trip? Public relations.
“There’s just been such a gross mischaracterization of what’s happening,” Pence’s chief of staff told FOX Business Network, referring to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s depiction of what’s going down in the migrant detention centers she visited last week in Texas.
The aide said the claims of poor treatment of migrants was “absurd,” despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
The Trump Administration is not one to lose the message war. Pence is coming for damage control.
As a possible preview of what he might say, Pence told a gathering of evangelicals last weekend, “There’s nothing compassionate about refusing to change the laws that human traffickers use to take advantage of poor families. Those who would advocate open borders, free health care for illegal immigrants and making illegal immigration legal are making it easier for human traffickers to mistreat poor and vulnerable families. That is morally wrong. And that has got to stop.”
Sen. John Cornyn is expected to join the vice president in the Rio Grande Valley. It is, after all, an election season.
Immigration and border security has been an issue for Texans for years. Voters say it’s a top issue of concern in the state and the country.
In 2018, Texas pollster Jim Henson noted that “there’s a plausible argument to be made… about the increase of nativist sentiment in the Republican Party. When you need to bring the family together in the Republican Party, you go to immigration, both legal and illegal.”